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United States Attorney for the Western District of Virginia Collects Over $500 Million in Civil and Criminal Penalties in 2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 22, 2014

ROANOKE, VIRGINIA – United States Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy announced today that the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Virginia collected $501,452,563 in criminal and civil penalties in fiscal year 2013.  Additionally, the Western District of Virginia worked with other U.S. Attorney’s Offices and components of the Department of Justice to collect an additional $1,155,045,898 in civil cases pursued jointly with these offices.

Attorney General Eric Holder announced on Thursday that the Justice Department collected approximately $8.1 billion in civil and criminal actions in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2013. The more than $8 billion in collections in FY 2013 represents nearly three times the appropriated $2.76 billion budget for the 94 U.S. Attorney’s offices and the main litigating divisions in that same period.

“The department’s enforcement actions help to not only ensure justice is served, but also deliver a valuable return to the American people,” said Attorney General Holder. “It is critical that Congress provide the resources necessary to match the department’s mounting caseload. As these figures show, supporting our federal prosecutors is a sound investment.”

“In 2013, our office collected more than 75 times our annual budget in criminal and civil penalties and asset forfeitures,” United States Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy said today. “I am proud of the AUSAs and staff in our district, who continue to achieve unprecedented success in recovering assets from those who commit fraud and other crimes.  This money helps provide restitution and other victim services, and supports law enforcement activities around the district.” 

For Fiscal Year 2013, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Virginia, collected more criminal, district-only, money than any other United States Attorney’s Office in the country. The $501,333,280, collected in 2013 is the highest total collection money collected to date in the Western District of Virginia.   A large portion of this FY13’s collections stem from the criminal fine levied against Abbott Labs, announced in 2012.  

Our office was again near the top of the list in terms of shared collections in civil cases. The $1.155 billion collected civilly includes $818 million from the Abbott Labs case brought in the Western District of Virginia, as well as $335 million in shared collections in nationwide cases brought by other United States Attorney’s Offices.  In these “shared collections” cases, employees of the USAO-WDVA personally contacted local victims to make them aware of prosecutions in other districts and gave them the information they needed to enforce their rights and obtain relief.  Our work on these shared collection matters helped ensure that local victims received the restitution they deserve.

“Our participation in these shared collection actions reinforces the notion that we must work with the Department, and other districts, to successfully prosecute some of these large, complex fraud cases,” U.S. Attorney Heaphy said today.

In terms of asset forfeiture, the USAO-WDVA collected assets totaling $6,345,519, more than any other similarly-sized United States Attorney’s Office in the nation. In addition, the USAO-WDVA has more assets under seizure than 91 other districts, with a value of seizures higher than 80 other districts.

“Our asset forfeiture unit does an unbelievable job in identifying and seizing those assets derived from the ill-gotten gains of the convicted,” said Assistant United States Attorney Sharon Burnham, Chief of the Asset Forfeiture Unit. “These forfeited assets help compensate victims and provide a needed supplement to the local law enforcement community.  It’s gratifying to use a criminal’s assets to fight crime.”

            The U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, along with the department’s litigating divisions, are responsible for enforcing and collecting civil and criminal debts owed to the U.S. and criminal debts owed to federal crime victims.  The law requires defendants to pay restitution to victims of certain federal crimes who have suffered a physical injury or financial loss.  While restitution is paid to the victim, criminal fines and felony assessments are paid to the department’s Crime Victims’ Fund, which distributes the funds to state victim compensation and victim assistance programs.

            The largest civil collections were from affirmative civil enforcement cases, in which the United States recovered government money lost to fraud or other misconduct or collected fines imposed on individuals and/or corporations for violations of federal health, safety, civil rights or environmental laws.  In addition, civil debts were collected on behalf of several federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, Internal Revenue Service, Small Business Administration and Department of Education.

 

 

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